Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will — Plastic Surgery Savings, Jesus’ Toilet & a Stressless-Style Chair

by Katy on September 8, 2013 · 26 comments

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will post, but worry not as there will always be fresh inspiration for these popular posts.

First off is a targeted savings bank, (apparently an extremely unwanted gift, if the donation rate is any indication) this time for the hitherto unseen Plastic Surgery Fund. Because:

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail for breast implants.”

Truer (and jigglier) words were never spoken.

Plastic surgery fund

Another Goodwill item that caught my eye was this miniature golden toilet. Not just because it’s a tiny golden toilet, (which is in and of itself kind of special) but because it was lovingly placed next to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and a camel.

“Sorry about there being no room at the inn, but here’s a golden toilet to make up for it.”

Jesus toilet

My recent reading of Atomic Ranch magazine increased my awareness of how nuts some people are for decorating their midcentury ranch houses. So when I saw this pair of groovy vintage sconces priced at $3.99 apiece, I knew I had to buy them. They are missing their backplates, but that’s an easy fix. I know I can reunited them with their perfect owner.

It’s like I’m a matchmaker, people!

Midcentury scones

I try to guide my purchasing decisions by William Morris’ famous “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” advice. Which is why I had a hard time leaving behind this vintage piggy planter. He’s just so freaking cute! The jaunty cap, the smiley expression, the adorable pony-like tail, I love it all! However, the practical side of me took over and overruled the purchase.

Practical Katy is kind of a kill joy.

Happy pig

Readers often complain that my thrift shops must be better than their thrift shops, as there’s nothing but junk whenever they try to go thrifting. To which I present to you the follow photo. See anything interesting, or do you just see florist-grade and outdated vases? Not worth bringing home. Dull, unattractive and priced too high.


Plethora of vases

But wait, look on the bottom shelf to find the small handmade vase. Priced at 99¢, this vase had no choice but to come home with me. It weighed almost nothing, and reminded me of the pottery I saw while in Japan last year, which was certainly not priced under a dollar.

Doesn’t it look so perfect nestled in with its long-lost Goodwill cousins?

Welcome home, little friend. Welcome home.


But my big purchase of the week was this chair and ottoman set. Priced at $25 together, I had to give it a second look. At first I thought it was a Stressless recliner chair, which normally start out at $1500, but a quick Google search on my iPhone killed that dream. See how filthy it is? Pretty gross. However, it had no cigarette smell, (a deal killer) so I took a gamble and brought it home.

Dirty Stressless Chair

This is what the actual Stressless Chair looks like. You can see how the Goodwill version is a knock off.

Actual Stressless chair

But an hour or so of cleaning, (plus a quick trip to the hardware store to replace a bolt) brought it back to un-grossitude. Clean, comfortable and ready for a new Craigslist owner.

Gotta plump up those college funds!

Update: I sold the chair & ottoman for $100. Woo-hoo!

Stressless chair in situ

Still think my thrift shops are better than your thrift shops? And would you have given the piggy a home? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie September 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Katy, do you often buy things so that you can sell them? I used to do that, but I have a small house and sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the gamble. I did make some decent money at times, though.

I don’t have a Craigslist for my city, but there is one for the city where I work. I may have to consider this. I sold my things exclusively on eBay before, and I don’t feel like dealing with the posting and fees on that site anymore.

I may think about doing this. Hmmm… Are you having a lot of success with selling? Is there a previous blog post I’ve missed that addressed this?



Katy September 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I haven’t written a dedicated post about reselling, it’s just kind of imbedded in many different posts.

I don’t always sell stuff, just when I happened upon certain items. And I have four Craigslist listing going right now, and sold two Goodwill rugs (paid $45) for $160 the other day.



Carole R September 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I might have bought the gold toilet if the price was right.


Alex September 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Gettin’ jiggly with it once again. Thanks!


Katy September 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm




A. Marie September 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

The golden toilet almost made me bust a gusset laughing. I’m on good terms with the bric-a-brac lady at my local Salvation Army (we don’t have Goodwill), but she’s fairly straight-laced and I doubt she’d appreciate a suggestion for this type of product placement. Too bad.


AnnDenee September 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Kudos to you for passing up the pig, even in all its cuteness.

My husband and I have had conversations about how much stuff is bought because it passes the “oh look! How cute is that?!” criteria, but wears off after about 5 minutes at home. We’re raising the bar to the “do we love this and will we use it regularly” level.

Thanks for all you do here and all the inspiration you offer.


Suzanne Bowie September 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Our area goodwill’s here in NW Florida seem to be over priced compared to yours – but the occasional bargain can be found.


Alison September 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I love the chair, and am curious, what did you use to clean it Katy?


rosarugosa September 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm

How did you ever pass up that golden toilet? Your self-control is amazing!


patti September 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I love the gold toilet and its hysterical placement … but it does make me wonder – why was a gold miniature toilet ever produced? I guess I don’t see the logic of that …. and the multitude of junk we see everyday in our stores. As for buying and reselling, I have done a lot of that on eBay but found it helps to know your items. I usually sell sewing or cooking items because of my home economist background. My best haul for awhile was “vintage” crock pots. My husband thought I was stupid to buy one for $3 at a yard sale but I sold it on eBay for $75. The trick is to know what people are like. Katy does it with her fabulous atomic ranch items. I may have some mid-century stuff around here to sell as well!!


BRB September 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

The pig did seem so happy.


Katy September 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

And now so sad. 🙁



H September 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

My latest Thrift Store find was a Hershey’s Chocolate tin with hot air balloons on it which I love. I have other cans above my kitchen cupboards which I store cookie cutters, etc in. This will add to my (useful) collection.


sheri September 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Our local Goodwill is over priced and filthy. I have three thrift stores within a mile from home. I frequent one over the others because the merchandise is well priced and turn over is frequent. The other stores need to pay attention. Overpricing items is not going to move merchandise.


megyn September 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I think so much of it is product placement/cleanliness. The Goodwills in Austin are over stuffed and over priced. I actually plan to take photos and email them to the managers as they are safety issues (like all the toys packed on shelves, and I routinely see toys fall on kids!). I prefer Savers out here. I found a 1986 USSR Army map bag this weekend. It was the most intriguing thing that I could have resold, but I gave it to a mama friend who could use it instead. It’s all about having an eye for finding the diamond in the rough 🙂


Penelope September 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Yes, Katy, the Goodwills in Portland are better than the lone Goodwill in Longview, Washington. However, on my last visit I did find a pair of Ikea tongs with rubber coated tips for $1.39. My daughter had been begging me for a pair of non-stick skillet safe bacon grabbers, so it was a win-win situation. You should know that because of your blog post, I will have to stop by my local Goodwill tomorrow. I am still searching for the elusive hand-painted Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle. I can’t figure out if other collectors are beating me to the store, or if it was a crafting trend that never caught on here…


marie September 9, 2013 at 6:17 am

I agree Penelope. The search for something decently price is long.
I much prefer The Red Hat!


Joanne Wright September 9, 2013 at 1:44 am

You have a talent Katy… you can see the potential!


That Other Jean September 9, 2013 at 5:36 am

Cute as it is, I would have left the pig behind. Anything in planters in our house becomes cat food. I have a thing for cobalt blue, though, so I would have seriously considered that vase on the top shelf.


Alexia September 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

I love the pig and probably would have brought it home at that price. I had eyed this creamer ( on eBay that appears to be a sibling to your planter, so it may have been re-sellable for more than you paid for it.


Katy September 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

That’s the same thing, but it’s not a creamer, as it has no pour spout!



Sarah September 9, 2013 at 10:11 am

Not sayin’ your Goodwill is better… but honestly it’s strange that yours has so many targeted savings banks!! I’ve never seen more than a couple here in our goodwills, and they’ve certainly not been so varied! ours are the more ordinary variety, like vacation or retirement.
the golden nativity toilet definitely got a chuckle. 🙂


Carrie September 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

Love your blog, Katy! Like one of the earlier commentors, I’d really appreciate a post about your Goodwill/Craigslist approach. I understand you have a good eye for what will sell, but you might be able to help some of us who are a bit more trend challenged in the re-sale arena. Some questions I have are what sells best? Are you on the lookout for certain things? etc.



Lorraine September 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

The piggy was very cute – but did it have dead vegetation in it? From the photo, it looked that way. It was a happy piggy and would have made you smile every time you looked at him (or her). I vote you should have bought the pig.

Congrats on selling the chair and ottoman.


LipoDoc October 6, 2015 at 8:04 am

lol i like your plastic surgery fund. looks pretty dope and a good idea.


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